When trying to learn a new skill, and especially when pursuing a particular vocation such as a dental career, traditional education and book smarts can only get you so far. By far my favorite way to learn a new skill set is to do what Tony Robbins calls “modeling” of other mentors who have already experienced success or have significant experience with whatever it is you’d like to do.
So with this in mind, I’m going to start a new series of articles consisting of interviews of various people currently working in the dental field, preferably those who carry positions as dentists, hygienists, assistants, dental therapists, orthodontists, and other dental positions. The goal is to give readers an in-depth understanding of the day to day practices of these professions, and a general sense of what the subject career is like from the inside.
However, since I haven’t gotten a chance to solicit any interviews yet, I thought I’d just remark on some articles of this type that I’ve found elsewhere online. I was able to find this interview with Dr. Michael Roberts, DDS by Juliet Farmer in The Student Doctor.
Just to give some background on Dr. Roberts, I’ll go ahead and summarize the actual article introduction here:
Dr. Michael B. Rogers owns a private orthodontics practice with his colleague Dr. Andrews in Augusta, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University School of Dentistry before serving as a Captain and general dentist in the U.S. Army Dental Corps. Later, he returned to the Medical College of Georgia to specialize in orthodontics, earning his Certificate in Orthodontics from the Georgia Health Sciences University (Medical College of Georgia) School of Dentistry.
Dr. Rogers is currently on the orthodontic faculty at the Georgia Health Sciences University and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. He has received numerous professional recognitions, including those from Georgia Association of Orthodontists (Exemplary Service Award, 1991 and 2006), Oren A. Oliver Southern Association of Orthodontists (Distinguished Service Award, 2002), and Emory University School of Dentistry (Meritorious Service Award, 2009).
Dr. Rogers has been active in several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, Georgia Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists, Southern Association of Orthodontists, Georgia Association of Orthodontists, Medical College of Georgia Orthodontic Alumni Association, Georgia Health Sciences University School of Dentistry Steering Committee, College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics, Eastern District Dental Society, and Georgia Academy of Dental Practice. He has been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, Orthodontic Products, and the American Journal of Orthodontics.
As you can see from the actual interview, it consists of 20 questions that Dr. Roberts thoughtfully answers, giving the aspiring orthodontist a terrific understanding of the job as a whole, including some of the frustrations and drawbacks that are inevitably present.
Tip the Odds of Getting a Dental Office Job in Your Favor
Most dental students, or students of any particular vocation for that matter, don’t go the extra mile to secure a job in their field directly after graduation. I find it unbelievable how many dental students would rather bemoan the fact that they don’t have a job X amount of years after completing their dental assistant or hygienist programs.
If you do what everyone else is doing, most likely you’re going to get the results everyone else gets, which sucks for 95% of people.
So one area where you can separate yourself is being proactive through and the initiative to “influence” dental offices to hire you. Interviewing dental practice owners/dentists and even orthodontists, oral surgeons and other specialists can have a profound impact on your “visibility”.
Just make up a reason why you’re doing the interview if you have no other reason than to gain visibility and hopefully get a job. Say you’re a blogger, that you have a paper to write, or that you are starting a non-profit organization that helps people get jobs.
Perhaps the best strategy is to just 100% transparent and say you’re a dental student or graduate looking for a job! Think about how attractive you’ll appear and in fact be in the eyes of your interviewee. All employers love for their employees to take initiative and have a genuine interest in their careers/jobs, so an interview definitely shows through your “actions” that you are genuinely interested in the dental field, not just through your mouth like most of the other graduates seeking dental jobs. Not only does this influence your job prospects, but also your hygienist salary.
Just something to think about…